We have performed our annual ritual – visited the family graves, discussed the history of the dead relatives, put flowers on their graves (and flags for the veterans), had a cookout with family and last-but-not-least – discussed my husband, Pat’s request for his funeral.
Yes – it’s true – although he is only 55, he wants to make sure we plan his funeral according to his wishes. Now, this isn’t that unusual – a lot of people like to pre-plan their funerals – pick out a casket, decide where they want to be buried – the usual stuff. Pat, however, has decided that he wants something unique for his funeral – he wants a Viking funeral complete with flaming boat!
Pat (who does not have one single drop of Viking blood in his body) wants to be placed in a Viking boat, set adrift on the Missouri River and have his friends lined up on the Bob Kerry Pedestrian bridge (which spans the Missouri between Nebraska and Iowa), armed with flaming arrows. His friends would then set his funeral barge on fire with their flaming arrows and Pat would go to Valhalla as he went down the Missouri River.
There are a few hurdles to overcome for this spectacle – state laws against bodies in the Missouri River, state laws against setting boats on fire on the river, state laws against flaming boats being allowed to float down the river – and the biggest one is letting a bunch of Pat’s friends have flaming arrows!
As Pat describes his road to Valhalla, we all laugh at this crazy man of Irish-German-Slavic descent and wonder why the heck he is fixated on this silly idea. He has informed us that we all have plenty of time to practice with those flaming arrows and he’s not dying until he knows we can hit his boat from the bridge. I see a very long life ahead for Pat.